Tablet for Mom

Laptops, PDAs, Cell Phones, and all other tech that you carry with you.

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Tablet for Mom

Postposted on Wed Nov 27, 2013 2:07 pm

I'm thinking about buying my mom a tablet for Christmas, but I only have a vague idea what the market is like.

I picture her using it to read articles on the internet, look up recipes, things like that. So she doesn't need much power, but at the same time, it shouldn't be annoying slow to use.

I would prefer android because I'm more used to it with my phones, but if I can get some great deal with another OS, I'll consider it.

Also, her eye sight isn't the best anymore, so I think a 10" screen would be better.
Last edited by BobbinThreadbare on Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tablet for Mom

Postposted on Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:20 pm

BobbinThreadbare wrote:So she doesn't need much power, but at the same time, it should be annoying slow to use.


This is my #1 criterion when buying presents for people. :wink:

Why does it have to be a tablet? Get her the $200 Acer Chromebook instead.

Champaign, IL is too cold during the winter and too hot/humid during the summer. You should move.
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Re: Tablet for Mom

Postposted on Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:45 pm

NeelyCam wrote:This is my #1 criterion when buying presents for people. :wink:

D'oh!
Why does it have to be a tablet? Get her the $200 Acer Chromebook instead.

She has a laptop now (but it's somewhat big and bulky). I think she'd appreciate the tablet interface and intended usage patterns.

Champaign, IL is too cold during the winter and too hot/humid during the summer. You should move.

Tell me about it.
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Re: Tablet for Mom

Postposted on Wed Nov 27, 2013 4:27 pm

Unless your Mom is some kind of tech DIY expert with systems experience or else you don't mind being her tech support, iPad is the obvious choice. Most IOS apps are the best/latest in their class and many are optimized and/or exclusive for iPad. The iWorks suite is now bundled in and the best media players and readers are mostly free. Most tasks are easy for non-technical users to do and there's a good set of accessibility features. Old folks routinely operate their iPads effectively and securely over their entire lifecycle, it's that well-designed.

I wouldn't recommend Microsoft/Nokia RT tablets unless Office and the major apps are enough for her needs. Win8RT isn't actually bad. Its quality and UI polish equals Apple's best and the app catalog is quickly expanding, but iOS is simply the more mature app ecosystem. Nothing but the best for her, right? But if your Mom's the original Mrs. Jetson, a Nexus 10 will have her inner hobbygurl root'ng/admin'ng/antimalware'ng like WinXP never went out of style. Flagship apps like Google maps can be good although Google+ will capture both your days.
Last edited by trackerben on Wed Nov 27, 2013 4:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tablet for Mom

Postposted on Wed Nov 27, 2013 4:28 pm

I bought my mother an original Nexus7 on release. All she ever does with it is... read books and lookup recipes. I'll grab it now and then to make sure it's updated, and every so often she forgets a password, but it's been a great device.

EDIT: I also bought her a Surface Pro to replace her desktop and no problems there either.
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Re: Tablet for Mom

Postposted on Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:42 pm

trackerben wrote:Unless your Mom is some kind of tech DIY expert with systems experience or else you don't mind being her tech support, iPad is the obvious choice. Most IOS apps are the best/latest in their class and many are optimized and/or exclusive for iPad. The iWorks suite is now bundled in and the best media players and readers are mostly free. Most tasks are easy for non-technical users to do and there's a good set of accessibility features. Old folks routinely operate their iPads effectively and securely over their entire lifecycle, it's that well-designed.

The problem for me here is price. I think a few tech calls is worth the $100-$200 I'll save.

Philldoe wrote:I bought my mother an original Nexus7 on release. All she ever does with it is... read books and lookup recipes. I'll grab it now and then to make sure it's updated, and every so often she forgets a password, but it's been a great device.

EDIT: I also bought her a Surface Pro to replace her desktop and no problems there either.

One thing I'm trying to figure out is if the 10" screen is worth the price jump.
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Re: Tablet for Mom

Postposted on Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:47 pm

trackerben wrote:Unless your Mom is some kind of tech DIY expert with systems experience or else you don't mind being her tech support, iPad is the obvious choice. Most IOS apps are the best/latest in their class and many are optimized and/or exclusive for iPad. The iWorks suite is now bundled in and the best media players and readers are mostly free. Most tasks are easy for non-technical users to do and there's a good set of accessibility features. Old folks routinely operate their iPads effectively and securely over their entire lifecycle, it's that well-designed.


I've never used an iPad, but wow, that sounds remarkably similar to Android.
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Re: Tablet for Mom

Postposted on Wed Nov 27, 2013 6:00 pm

BobbinThreadbare wrote:One thing I'm trying to figure out is if the 10" screen is worth the price jump.


It was worth the Camera. HDMI capability (she hooks it into her TV for movies). App versatility. Keyboard. And the fact that I have a proper computer to use when I'm there.

EDIT: On the note of iPads. Avoid them, you'll be happy you did.
Fastfreak39: I feel like they should change the phrase "jumping on the band wagon" to "sailing on the pirate ship"
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Re: Tablet for Mom

Postposted on Wed Nov 27, 2013 6:13 pm

How do you guys feel about the Galaxy Tab 3 or Asus Transformer Prime? They're both about $300 on Amazon right now.
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Re: Tablet for Mom

Postposted on Wed Nov 27, 2013 8:02 pm

As a nexus 7 owner and a regular user of ipads I think it comes down to a consideration between whether she needs the 10 inch or whether a 7 inch will do (barring price). If her eyesight is up to the 7 inch I think the Nexus 7 (I have the 2012 version and its great, I haven't used the 2013 but I'm sure its just as good if not better) is the best deal going in the tablet space. If you would rather get her a 10 inch I think its tough to beat the Ipad, its a great device and worth the premium price in my opinion. I've used a couple of the other 10 inch androids but I like the build quality and speed of the ipad.
I would still lean towards the nexus 7 for your mom though, the text displayed is roughly enough the same size on both devices, its a great price and for day to day use its size is easier in the hand. I've seen a lot of 'Moms' with the 7 inch ipad minis and they seem to like them just fine. I just don't think the minis are worth the premium over the Nexus 7 and they share a similar build quality and feature set. Tough to beat.
In short, with price not being a consideration, I think its down to a choice between the Nexus 7 and the 10inch Ipad. Both are great options and great devices.
Sound like a good christmas present, best of luck.
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Re: Tablet for Mom

Postposted on Wed Nov 27, 2013 11:30 pm

Yeats wrote:
trackerben wrote:Unless your Mom is some kind of tech DIY expert with systems experience or else you don't mind being her tech support, iPad is the obvious choice. Most IOS apps are the best/latest in their class and many are optimized and/or exclusive for iPad. The iWorks suite is now bundled in and the best media players and readers are mostly free. Most tasks are easy for non-technical users to do and there's a good set of accessibility features. Old folks routinely operate their iPads effectively and securely over their entire lifecycle, it's that well-designed.


I've never used an iPad, but wow, that sounds remarkably similar to Android.


The differences in hardware build and UI experience can be huge over their respective lifecycles.

Android tablets can be cheaper and feature more utility, but they're not a wise recommendation for anyone old and/or non-technical. Android's security issues are bad enough to warrant warnings from the FBI, Homeland (and mods by the NSA, who should know). http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-576001 ... y-fbi-dhs/

I generally wouldn't make such folks use a droid if I didn't have time to spend on helping them. Particularly if there are kids around who are prone to borrowing their stuff and trying leety ideas. But the biggest difference is still found in the great variety and quality of cheap iOS apps.
http://www.techspot.com/review/747-appl ... page3.html
Last edited by trackerben on Wed Nov 27, 2013 11:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tablet for Mom

Postposted on Wed Nov 27, 2013 11:54 pm

About security concerns...this quote in the article sums it up
upwards of 44 percent of Android users worldwide are still using Android versions 2.3.3 to 2.3.7, which still contain security vulnerabilities fixed in later versions.


So, don't use an ancient crappy version of Android.
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Re: Tablet for Mom

Postposted on Wed Nov 27, 2013 11:59 pm

MadManOriginal wrote:About security concerns...this quote in the article sums it up
upwards of 44 percent of Android users worldwide are still using Android versions 2.3.3 to 2.3.7, which still contain security vulnerabilities fixed in later versions.


So, don't use an ancient crappy version of Android.


It's also architecture/development issues.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-23431281
Hackers use Android 'master key' exploit in China

But if Android be it, a recent Nexus 7 or 10 would be the best (and hopefully safest) choice. For basic media and satnav uses the Nexus 7 is pretty much the only android tablet worth owning over its lifecycle assuming one is careful about malware. But I'd also look at affordable Win8 tablets from Dell or Lenovo which don't suffer much from security issues, and check the windows appstore to see if the ones wanted are already available.
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Re: Tablet for Mom

Postposted on Thu Nov 28, 2013 12:13 am

BobbinThreadbare wrote:The problem for me here is price. I think a few tech calls is worth the $100-$200 I'll save.


I suspect it's going to be more than a few calls over time. If your Mom is doing only basic consumption you might get away with less handholding on a recent Nexus - IF you're choosing and configuring/locking down its apps/shells/permissions and any unneeded channels. I'd stay far away from any non-Nexus hardware (other than Asus's variants), and install mostly Google and the other well-known apps, and constantly remind her not to experiment with all sorts of funnyware, and that task killer is her friend. This all presumes your Mom listens only to you here and not the next guy who comes calling and offers to "update" her promiscuous droid with his "power tips".

And yea, Apple's premium stuff are priced high particularly memory upgrades. You could make her try a used iPad 3. If her needs aren't that heavy or game-oriented an iPad 2 on iOS7 runs most new media apps well enough.
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Re: Tablet for Mom

Postposted on Thu Nov 28, 2013 6:30 am

To be far I think if your mom is looking up things on the internet and reading recipes both OS's are equally easy or equally difficult depending on your mom. There will probably be a few phone calls either way. At least Candy Crush isn't available on Android...
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Re: Tablet for Mom

Postposted on Thu Nov 28, 2013 9:15 am

trackerben wrote:
MadManOriginal wrote:About security concerns...this quote in the article sums it up
upwards of 44 percent of Android users worldwide are still using Android versions 2.3.3 to 2.3.7, which still contain security vulnerabilities fixed in later versions.


So, don't use an ancient crappy version of Android.


It's also architecture/development issues.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-23431281
Hackers use Android 'master key' exploit in China

But if Android be it, a recent Nexus 7 or 10 would be the best (and hopefully safest) choice. For basic media and satnav uses the Nexus 7 is pretty much the only android tablet worth owning over its lifecycle assuming one is careful about malware. But I'd also look at affordable Win8 tablets from Dell or Lenovo which don't suffer much from security issues, and check the windows appstore to see if the ones wanted are already available.


You must either hate Android a lot or like throwing around FUD without a rudimentary search to see if the bug has been resolved. http://www.slashgear.com/google-release ... -09289539/ Patched prior to the date of the article you linked. The only problem is if OEMs don't push out the patch, but that's why you get a Nexus device (or get a Master Key patch app from the Play Store) and don't install APKs from any old third party site.
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Re: Tablet for Mom

Postposted on Thu Nov 28, 2013 9:41 am

BobbinThreadbare wrote:
Also, her eye sight isn't the best anymore, so I think a 10" screen would be better.


I'm also in the market to buy my mom a tablet, but I've already made the decision to shoot for an iPad since she can facetime with family. With that in mind, it was next figuring out the size. Luckily she saw my sister's in-laws iPad mini, and didn't like the smallness of the screen/tablet. She has since the iPad (1st gen) that I let my sister used and liked using that when my sister visits her. Later on I asked my mom out right which iPad she likes and she stated the regular iPad.

The main thing is to get the size of the tablet down, and the resolution narrowed down. Then from there I would move on to what OS (Apple/Droid/Win) to use.

If possible take her to a Best Buy or some other B/M store that a lot of tablets and ask her what she thinks is nice. It will help you make sure she gets something she likes and helps you figure out what she doesn't like.
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Re: Tablet for Mom

Postposted on Thu Nov 28, 2013 9:56 am

MadManOriginal wrote:You must either hate Android a lot or like throwing around FUD without a rudimentary search to see if the bug has been resolved. http://www.slashgear.com/google-release ... -09289539/ Patched prior to the date of the article you linked. The only problem is if OEMs don't push out the patch, but that's why you get a Nexus device (or get a Master Key patch app from the Play Store) and don't install APKs from any old third party site.


I pointed not to FUD but to reported known exploits in Android's checkered development to show that it's not just installed base fragmentation inviting security issues. I'm not posting here to gloss over its faults but to give some insight on the challenges an elderly person may face with non-Nexus vs. Nexus vs. Apple or Win RT gear.

Yours like mine is exactly the type of no-FUD perspective a buyer needs to have any hope of attaining a quality experience like Apple's. I've always said an affordable Nexus would be the best Android tablet to try. But this doesn't negate the general wisdom that Apple's pricey iPads provide the most refined and secure full tablet experience in the long run.

Android is not some love/hate object standing all together by itself, you can't conflate it as such without obfuscating the value it can offer to some end-user classes nor the problems it can present to others. It's a promiscuous mobile OS exposing uneven, manytimes vulnerable behaviors on a fragmented industrial platform which should concern diverse users unevenly, much like with x86 Windows. Its actual design and deployment has its good points which is why I make calls on a dual-SIM droid (and allow apk's like Amazon's) and recommend Nexus models to users with niche needs and/or who can competently mess with their stuff. But it also has its bad points which is why I recommend iOS tablets as Apple's less frictional, more secure designs and ecosystem advantages are better fit to the needs of the majority of consumers.
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Re: Tablet for Mom

Postposted on Thu Nov 28, 2013 10:53 am

Buy her an iPad. It has the best app ecosystem, and Android is still a work in progress. I like Android, but I'm a "power user" who can benefit from its flexibility.
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Re: Tablet for Mom

Postposted on Thu Nov 28, 2013 12:04 pm

On the cheaper end of tablets, may I recommend the Nook HD+? It has a really nice 1920x1280 8.9" screen (easier on the eyes than the 7" tablets, easier to hold than the 10" ones), microSD card reader (it is so much easier to put a non-technical users music & videos on a card or two, than to explain how to use cloud content) and should be plenty fast enough for what your Mom would use a tablet for. Only $150.

The default firmware is locked down to only install apps from the Play Store and B&N app store, which could be a plus or minus for your Mom; that means no worrying about her downloading a virus from a random site on the internets, but also means she can't check Amazon's app store for cheaper prices, or take advantage of their free app of the day. I have one, and like it a lot, but installed CyanogenMod on it to give me more control over it; your Mom would probably be just fine with the stock ROM. A downside to it though is that is lacks a camera & GPS, but that is what phones are for anyways. :D

And frankly, I think trackerben is wildly exaggerating the impact of malware on Android devices. Almost cases of Android devices getting infected are coming from third world countries where everyone is pirating their apps; often the phones & tablets in those places have malware ridden appstores preinstalled. If you tell a non-technical user to stick to Google Play or Amazon they will be fine. Even the people I know who are constantly getting their Windows machines infected don't have an issue with their Android devices. Which sucks for me, cause I make a nice bit on the side fixing that sort of thing. :)
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Re: Tablet for Mom

Postposted on Thu Nov 28, 2013 1:14 pm

I believe that by the time any suspicions are fully evinced by evidence, it would be too late to advise preventative caution. Some would think this to be a reasonable idea. It's the model that counts in proactive IT. DHS, FBI, and DOD/NSA apparently thought the same in their reporting about the rising Android malware threat.

A big reason I am strict here on mobile security is because the end-user's example is the proverbial soft target. The uncoordinated update policies and customization of the various "partners" isn't helping any.
http://www.cs.ncsu.edu/faculty/jiang/pubs/CCS13.pdf
Last edited by trackerben on Thu Nov 28, 2013 1:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tablet for Mom

Postposted on Thu Nov 28, 2013 1:39 pm

I'd get her the new Nexus 10 that is about to be released. Or if she already has a iMac or Macbook or something, an iPad of some sort would be the obvious choice of course.
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Re: Tablet for Mom

Postposted on Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:23 am

A tablet choice depends on your (or someone else's) particular needs/preferences, there is no single "perfect" device for everyone. For example, if you (or someone else) prefers to watch streaming (or pre-downloaded) legally purchased movies - an iPad would be a better choice because it has native support for iTunes Store, Amazon Prime videos, Netflix, Hulu, etc. (just about everything except Google's own crappy services). Same goes for similar music services.
However, if you (or someone else) likes to browse internets a lot and use e-mail - an Android-based tablet would be unquestionably better because you have a better choice of browsers, with Flash support (yea, it sux, but some sites still rely on it) and ability to remove "unwanted" or harmful web content from any page, same goes for e-mail clients. Mobile Safari on iPad is pretty bad, especially after iOS7 update which significantly worsened its GUI and made it much more crash-prone on certain sites (for example http://ru-chp.livejournal.com).

So yea, think about which activity is more valuable and buy stuff based on that.
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Re: Tablet for Mom

Postposted on Fri Nov 29, 2013 4:36 pm

I decided to go with the Nexus 7. Thanks for all the advice.
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Re: Tablet for Mom

Postposted on Fri Nov 29, 2013 6:58 pm

The Nexus 7 is a nice device, I think she'll do pretty well with it. The two main advantages of the iPad for an older/non-tech user are (1) per-app permissions and (2) a physical Home button that implements an all-purpose "escape and start over" function. But the Nex7 is a very nice bit of hardware (my dad has one) and frankly, speaking as someone who uses both platforms daily, the basic iOS and Android UI experiences are not that different ever since iOS 7. Administration on Android is more powerful and correspondingly more obtuse, but that will be your problem, not hers.
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Re: Tablet for Mom

Postposted on Sat Dec 07, 2013 12:51 pm

Fun little story. I thought I had ordered it on Amazon's black Friday sale, but never finished checking out. Well lucky me, Newegg ends up having an even better sale, so I order it from then. Then today, I see woot has a refurbished one for 120 bucks. So I canceled the Newegg order and went with Woot. Ended up saving about $80 all because I was distracted on Friday.

Also, woot.com has a refurbed Nexus 7 for $120 if anyone was thinking about getting one.
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Re: Tablet for Mom

Postposted on Sun Dec 15, 2013 11:04 am

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/12/g ... dding-them
Google Removes Vital Privacy Feature From Android, Claiming Its Release Was Accidental

http://rt.com/usa/google-removes-privacy-android-227/
Google removes privacy control in latest Android update

Best to lockdown upgrade methods to KitKat or dissuade non-technical consumers from doing so until stuff like this is resolved through a more mature policy track. The Android team's capriciousness is whipsawing threat windows unpredictably. There's no pressing need to update beyond 4.3.
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